Irantiola Dramatizes Societal Injustice in ‘With Our Uniform’
By Dipo Olowookere
A society that ignores social injustice will always find it very difficult to progress and if care is not taken, things may get out of hands because the citizens will be frustrated and will make an attempt to fight back.
The recent #EndSARS protest is a perfect example because, after years of enduring police brutality, young men and women in Nigeria stood up to say ‘enough is enough’, daring the consequences.
Though there are still pockets of maltreatment of citizens by security operatives, the political class are conscious of the fact that if urgent steps are not quickly taken to address the issues raised during the protest, worse things may happen.
As all these are going on, a public relations expert, Mr Olutayo Irantiola, was inspired to mirror the societal decadence and the ruthless use of force by uniformed men through a drama titled With Our Uniform.
The satirical stage drama, directed by Lanre Quadri, came alive at the just-concluded Lagos Fringe Festival, where it was staged between November 20 and 22, 2020 at the Freedom Park, Lagos Island.
Mr Irantiola explained that his passion for using art to reform the society and instilling quality value inspired him to write the play which tells the story of how uniformed men extort innocent and unsuspecting citizens of their hard-earned income, just to augment their poor remuneration.
“With Our Uniform is a satire about the law enforcement agency – police force, fused with comedy and witty dialogue.
“The response of the law enforcement officers to the spate of protests in Nigeria is quite disturbing. My concerns are particularly about the injustice experienced by the majority of our young and vibrant youths in the country.
“I am committed to telling the Nigerian story through plays. My art seeks to explore the topical issues that affect the everyday Nigerian.
“The drama is an imitation of life and I am thrilled that it captures important facts in a subtle but entertaining way,” the promoter of the Yoruba culture and language said.
The convener of the Literary Reading Group, Atokun of Yoruba Lakotun, who said With Our Uniform is his debut, promised to tell more stories that will lead to the desired attitudinal change in the society.
Commenting on the play, Lanre Quadri said, “I am delighted we were able to bring our ideas to life and people were able to connect to the play. We were able to get talented crew and so rehearsals were done within a short time.
“I have always wanted to work on a project that addresses societal issues and I believe this drama would spur the change we desire. It also serves as a reminder of what was and what could be.”
Some of the cast of With our Uniform were Damilola Adebayo, Ismaila Adeshina, Agnes Olayemi, Ogunse Tosin, Akintunde Tosin, Osho Olowu Micheal, Adeniyi Oluwafemi, Christiana Ndukwe, Friday Onyenankeya, Lawrence Babatunde and Damilola Adeyinka.
Forces of Change in the Creative Industries – Going Beyond Tech
By Amine Djouahra
As we are nearing the end of the first half of 2023, we have all become more comfortable with change and disruption. Whether it is the pandemic, environmental factors, unstable global economic conditions, or tech evolution, we have learned to bounce back quickly. One industry that has had to be particularly agile during the past few years is the filmmaking industry.
Canon’s new report (written in conjunction with The Future Laboratory) – The Future of Filmmaking, reveals the industry’s efforts to be a catalyst of change that inspires the creative industry to transform its narrative and to shine its spotlight on topics that will be significant in shaping the future of our world, and that of the African continent.
Interestingly, the report sheds light on the human landscape and its power to create, cultivate, and drive change. The power of people ultimately makes things happen and pushes us toward progress and advancement in any industry. The report highlights four crucial aspects that may be driven by tech but not necessarily led by tech. In my view, these are significant factors directly proportional to the content creation and filmmaking industries and will undoubtedly shape the future of these industries.
Rise of the Creative Class
According to the UNESCO report, global cultural and creative industries (CCIs) are estimated to generate about $2.25 trillion annually, which accounts for 3% of the global GDP and employment of around 30 million people worldwide. It is fascinating to see the rise of this creator economy, which the report identifies as the “New Creative Class”. As we witnessed an unprecedented boom in digitalisation over the last 10 years, this creative class sprang into action using technologies to deliver a fresh and novel take on content creation.
If we lens in on the African continent, which is closer to home and more interesting to me, we see some remarkable trends in the creative economy. In Nigeria, as this report shows, the sector employs 4.2 million people and is expected to employ a further 2.7 million by 2025, an increase of more than 50% in the next two years.
Despite the significant contribution made by the new creative class toward societal and economic progress, there still seems to be a gap in recognition compared to other industries. The emerging community of content creators is striving to achieve fair working conditions, equitable payment models, and new standards in the industry that reflect their value and contributions. This is a positive development for the creative sector in its rightful plea to be recognised and treated fairly compared to other industries.
The explosion of digital technologies may have given us the power to do anything from anywhere, but like all things, too much of anything is not always good and has its consequences. An interesting trend emerged with the plethora of content choices that suddenly became available for audiences to consume worldwide. People slowly started taking their eyes off the global stage and shifted their gaze towards local and homemade content that told stories of their land and their people.
Given our natural desire as humans to find meaning, connectivity, and relatability, the narrative of authentic stories led independent storytellers, documentary-makers, content creators, and filmmakers to explore topics that local people resonate with. So, it’s no surprise that global streaming giants like Netflix and Disney are investing in Africa to tap the unexplored potential and talent. The report encapsulates the essence of the ‘Stay global, go local’ movement and asserts that media organisations and creative firms will progressively be compelled to shift sight closer to home when it comes to entertainment and content production.
The current climate crisis affects us all, no matter which industry or walk of life we come from. The severity of climate change needs to be taken seriously globally, and genuine efforts must be made for scaled initiatives to reduce our carbon footprints. The streaming industry is no exception to this; the carbon impact of the industry drastically needs to be reduced by adopting a more sustainable approach towards this issue.
The report underpins the significance of consumer demand as a key driver toward adopting sustainable practices and better industry standards. With people gaining more awareness about the environmental impact of their consumption choices, they are likely to demand pro-environmental practices, thus compelling the industry to adopt a pro-active approach towards sustainability.
The Future of Filmmaking report highlights the positive development of inclusivity and diversity. It emphasises that the new creative class is at the forefront of inclusivity and is not afraid to challenge the already-established broadcasters. This new generation of creators identifies technology to harness change and propel social progress. Decentralisation will be a key trend touching every area of the industry, from financing to licensing and distribution and more, creating new opportunities for the underrepresented creators and bringing them closer to their fans.
Continuing the Legacy of Storytelling
These trends are a wake-up call to many in the industry to pay attention to the changing needs of people and to evolve with them. However, we must always return to the basics and remember the importance of telling stories. While these trends affect the industry by and large, the shifts create more freedom for storytellers to come forth and tell their stories in unique and inspiring ways, enabling them to create content that is responsive to the tastes, locations, and ethics of their audiences in a way that has never been possible before.
All in all, the report tells me that this is an exciting time to be a creator, with the industry opening its doors to new opportunities that reflect change, growth, development, and progress.
Amine Djouahra is the B2C BU Director for Canon Central & North Africa
Africa Day: YouTube Honours Nollywood, African Storytelling
Nollywood stars, creators, and creative community members gathered together at a YouTube event titled Celebration of Nollywood on Africa Day.
This event celebrated the enchanting world of Nollywood and marked the significant contributions of African storytelling through cinema, paying tribute to the creators who bring these narratives to life.
The event welcomed 150 attendees and assembled prominent celebrities and influential personalities from the Nollywood industry.
Notable guests included veteran actress Sola Sobowale, AMVCA comedian of the year Bimbo Ademoye, Adeyemi Okanlawon, Debo Adedayo aka Mr Macaroni, and Linda Ejiofor-Suleiman.
Top Nigerian YouTube content creators such as Apaokagi-Greene Maryam aka Taaooma, AMVCA award winner Samuel Animashaun Perry aka Broda Shaggi, and Chukwuebuka Emmanuel Amuzie aka Brainjotter, also graced the event.
Among the sessions at the event was a panel discussion addressing Nollywood’s growth and the potential of digital technology in the industry. The panellists, including Murphy Ben, CEO of Murphy Ben International and Aforevo, YouTube content creator Taaooma, and Nollywood actress and movie producer Rahama Sadau, shared invaluable insights on leveraging digital technology for industry growth and scalability.
Alex Okosi, YouTube EMEA Managing Director for Emerging Markets, acknowledged the significant impact of Nollywood and the transformative power of storytelling.
He emphasized YouTube’s dedication to partnering with Nollywood and serving as a platform where meaningful stories are shared and celebrated globally.
Okosi stated, “Your work is reshaping global narratives about Africa and Nigeria. It’s not merely entertainment – it’s powerful, transformative, and making a real difference. The stories you tell and the emotions you evoke resonate with audiences worldwide. YouTube is privileged to partner with you and provide a platform to share and celebrate these impactful narratives globally.”
Olumide Balogun, Interim Country Lead at Google Nigeria, shed light on YouTube’s commitment to supporting and promoting the Nollywood industry by promoting movies, actors, producers, and other industry members. He outlined a two-month-long program designed to spur the growth of Nollywood on YouTube.
Acclaimed actors, talented producers, and influential film community members enlivened the event, contributing to the celebratory ambience. The event showcased Africa’s dynamic culture and creativity, emphasising Nollywood’s significant role in shaping global perceptions and narratives.
In a world full of diverse stories, YouTube has remained committed to supporting black creatives across the globe, recognizing their invaluable contributions to the platform and beyond.
This commitment is exemplified by initiatives such as the #YouTubeBlack Voices Fund, a global fund aimed at amplifying Black voices and perspectives and facilitating the creation of fresh narratives that educate audiences about racial justice. With a deep gratitude for the creative community, YouTube fosters an environment where diverse voices are heard, respected, and empowered.
Excitement as Nigerian Idol Season 8 Live Show Begins
By Modupe Gbadeyanka
All is now set for the commencement of the Nigerian Idol Season 8 Live Show this weekend after the judges chose 10 contestants for the stage.
The process started last December with entries received from across the country and reached its high point when the trio of Obi Asika, D’Bank, and Simi selected 10 budding singers from the 29 who made it to the theatre week.
The live show is the crucial phase of Nigerian Idol, as the fate of the contestants is in the hands of the voting public.
Savvy Henry, Constance, Goodness, Abraham, Quest, Precious Mac, Victory, Reigny, Ose Daniel, and Chisom were selected for the final stage after five weeks of audition and theatre week performances.
Performances on the live show will be judged by the viewers, who hold the power to retain and evict contestants through their votes.
Viewers can follow their favourite contestants on Nigerian Idol season 8 by tuning in to Africa Magic Showcase, Africa Magic Urban, and Africa Magic Family every Sunday at 7 pm.
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